For the first-time health professionals across Wales can view clinical documents and test results electronically in hospitals, no matter where the tests were taken, via the Welsh Clinical Portal.
An upgrade to the Welsh Clinical Portal in North Wales has been the final link to ensure that clinicians can now see the results and documents from anywhere across the country. The Welsh Clinical Portal is a digital workspace used by doctors and health professionals to share and display patient information from a number of sources, including the Welsh GP Record.
As well as test results, clinical documents are being made available across health board organisational boundaries. There are now 12 million documents to view including electronic GP referrals, emergency department attendances, clinic and results letters. The Welsh Clinical Portal is enabling information to follow the patient wherever care is provided.
Palliative Care Consultant, Dr Victoria Wheatley, is part of a team covering a large part of South East Wales. Her patients will have tests taken, and documents generated, in one of several hospitals in the area, and one of many GP surgeries or clinics. Before the introduction of the national results service she had to search for test results in different systems, or have them taken again.
She said, ‘Within the team I work in, many of our patients have cancer, and cancer treatments in South Wales are provided in lot of different places, but now if a patient tells me they had a blood test in a clinic a few days ago, I can look that up on the computer and it helps me make decisions, it prevents me having to take blood again, so it’s really making a difference.’
This landmark achievement has been made possible through collaborative working across Wales using the national digital platform and standards. In March this year, nearly 23,000 distinct out-of-area results were viewed by clinicians, all of which would previously have been chased over the phone or searched by other routes, taking up valuable time. In many cases the clinician would repeat these patient tests.
In a project evaluation report, 100 per cent of users agreed that the availability of results across Wales has saved them valuable time. Comments from health professionals included, ‘We are treating patients rather than chasing results. It’s what my job is all about.’ and ‘An excellent service that supports clinical decision makers with all the information that may be available. Especially useful to support cross-boundary and out-of-hours care.’
Wales-wide test results in the Welsh Clinical Portal are currently available for all pathology and microbiology tests, with radiology and other areas due to become nationally available in forthcoming months.